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Messages - mathieu

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Gear Talk / Re: Flashlights for bike are needed
« on: Today at 04:58:40 am »
Did you visit Peter White's site?
The guy has an interest in selling headlight products but he certainly knows what he is talking about. The products he discusses and the pictures will sharpen your awareness of what you need.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Bike type and solo?
« on: April 29, 2015, 05:21:22 pm »
Last year in June I did only one stage, between Ketchum and Stanley. I was dismayed by several very soft double tracks milled up by ATVs, which are very popular in Idaho. I mailed this information to someone who I knew was in doubt whether to do the main route on a cross bike or MTB. Later I read in his blog that he was very glad to follow my advice to use an MTB with fat tires.
For more information I refer to several blogs on CrazyGuy : .

There is also an extensive topic on Bikepacking involving the route's main architect, Casey Greene, that you may find helpfull :

Solo or not? Last year I rode solo from Arizona to British Columbia on dirt roads and I don't see why you shouldn't do the main IHS route solo. From what I read in the blogs, the route is already quite popular.  You'll probably meet other riders about every day.  The singletracks are much more remote and wild, so that is a more serious commitment going solo.

Routes / Re: MAPS/ GUIDES WANTED: Netherlands, Belgium, France
« on: March 11, 2015, 03:11:11 pm »
There are at least half a dozen different cycle routes Amsterdam - Paris documented in guides. Refering to the map in
I can point to  :
1. The North Sea coast route following bike paths along the coast until Boulogne sur Mer (route 6 on the map) and then dropping to Paris.
2. A variant on this that leaves the coast by going over Gent (Ghent) or Brugge (Brueghes)  to Ieper (Ypres) and dropping to Paris
3. The so-called Van Gogh route passing over Antwerpen, Brussel(s) - route 1 on the map
4. A variant over Eindhoven (where I live), joining the Van Gogh route in Brussels
5. A route passing over Eindhoven and Maastricht and joining a route coming from Aachen (Aken in dutch) - route 7 on the map
Depending on what you want to see  and taste (cities, art, history, beers, quiet roads?), you should select one of these. I could probably assist you in finding guides including maps and stages and lodging information, probably in dutch but probably not difficult to decipher.

I don't believe there is urgency in booking rooms, possibly excepting Paris and Amsterdam. If your ride is in July, booking in May seems quite timely.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Route, north of Ashton ID
« on: February 23, 2015, 06:31:58 pm »
The loose soil on this Idaho rail trail is cursed even by MTB riders with 50 mm wide tires. Fortunately most of it can be bypassed on a parallel dirt road in a distance of less than 1 mile from the rail trail,  that has a reasonably good surface. See the map at the bottom of my journal page for this stage : (zoom in for details; blue is rail trail).

Gear Talk / Re: New Rider who needs advice on tires
« on: February 22, 2015, 12:14:02 pm »
Instead of the Schwalbe Marathon Plus, I would go for the the Schwalbe Marathon Racer. Take 700x30c if your bike can handle it. It is 395 gram per tire  instead of 750 gram. You feel this difference when you are speeding up. Don't be afraid of an occasional flat. It usually happens only every 1000 miles or so, unless you enjoy riding on interstate shoulders full of glass and steel debris.

Gear Talk / Re: Tubus Lowrider Racks for GDMBR?
« on: February 22, 2015, 09:56:32 am »
You will have no real problem. In 2010 I did the GD route south-to-north using a Bob trailer. Two companions used low front panniers. Look at the attached slide show to see the clearance of the bottom of the Bob and the panniers of my companion. The show will probably raise your appetite further to embark on this beautiful route. Several pictures have been published in an issue of the Adventure Cyclist one year ago.

General Discussion / Re: Great Divide Northbound Questions
« on: January 18, 2015, 11:17:50 am »
I wouldn't start before half of May. In the north of New Mexico the route goes over 10,000 ft (Polvedera Mesa), over 11,000 ft (Brazos Ridge) and almost to 12,000 ft in southern Colorado (Indiana Pass). You can bypass each on pavement, but it would rob a lot of the route's main beauties. Also many passes in Montana and British Columbia don't clear before mid-June.

From reading many blogs and my own experience, I sketched a chart showing the time windows for going S-to-N and N-to-S in . Of course this is not rocket science.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Rooseville, MT to Helena, MT
« on: August 30, 2014, 09:01:10 am »
Carla, it's an indulgence to go back to the maps and refresh fond memories of those towns and trails of the Great Divide route.
I went through all maps and added all paved sections on the main route longer than 5 miles. I came to a surprising total of 673 miles, i.e close to 25% of the total route!
That old estimate of 5-10% on pavement (also in Wikipedia) is wide off the mark.

Routes / Re: Great Divide Rooseville, MT to Helena, MT
« on: August 29, 2014, 06:44:51 pm »
Adventure Cycling clearly has an unrealistic view of the percentage paved, both for the whole GD route and for this particular section from Roosville to Helena.
In this section roughly 25%, about 90 miles in a total of 370 miles, is paved. The detailing by Iowagriz is also what I remember.
For the total route it is more likely between 10-20%.

I recommend to delay the start, if possible, to mid-May for more agreable overall temperatures.

Flying to Washington-Dulles airport, I rented a large car (small minivan) to transport my boxed bike to a hotel in Williamsburg. A few days later I returned the car to Dulles, took a shuttle to Washington-DC and the afternoon train from Union Station to Williamsburg. This eliminates hauling an unwieldy box and other bags in shuttles and trains. It even allowed a few hours of carefree sightseeing in Washington. Returning a rented car was much less expensive than dropping it in Williamsburg.

Routes / Re: The Great Divide - question
« on: July 29, 2014, 03:34:18 pm »
Depends on how fast you go. Have a look at the chart in . If you can do the route in 1 month (i.e. about 100 mi/day), you may get to the US-Mex border, but if you need 2 months probably not. But this is not rocket science; every year is different.

Routes / Re: Geronimo Trail
« on: June 30, 2014, 07:53:58 pm »

Your start is 4 days before the Grand Depart of the 2014 Tour Divide race from Banff. Even at 100 miles/day, you will probably be overtaken after 7 days by the frontrunners. On you'll find the latest info about snowpack. I saw a cryptical post recently from Matthew Lee himself. He has eyes and ears everywhere on the GD. Follow that link!

General Discussion / Re: Tour Divide Race 2014!
« on: May 09, 2014, 07:28:05 pm »
There are 40 odd pages about TD 2014 waiting for you to read at

Gear Talk / Re: Making wheels stronger with a mixed spoke pattern.
« on: April 21, 2014, 03:58:53 pm »
In the end, for touring use a conservatively designed wheel built by a good wheel builder.  For most touring applications you should not use radial spoking.  Don't use low spoke count wheels, do use a good brand of spokes in a conservative pattern that doesn't require a tensiometer to build.  Use strong rims.  Make sure they're in good repair before starting your tour.

In June, about 120 racers will start for another edition of the Tour Divide race, 2700 miles from Banff-Canada to the US/Mex border. I guess only a few of them will have wheels that fit your recommendation. All of them will have loads that are substantially less than most tourers, probably between 15 and 30 lbs, but their pace is surely much faster and the dirt roads are much rougher. About one-third of them uses rigid forks. I guess for all of them the dynamic  impact on the wheels is much harder than for touring, whatever the load. The race rules prescribe that in case of a mechanical defect, the racer has to go back to a commercial bike shop; no private assistance or forward movement along the GD route is allowed. From the past editions, I do not remember any wheel defect. If it were a serious risk of modern MTB wheels, it would have shown.

What I want to say: there is nothing wrong with being conservative in chosing wheels, but you should be aware that your bike is probably heavier then needed!

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